The American Girl

Free The American Girl by Kate Horsley

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Authors: Kate Horsley
charge from under the bed when I saw something out of the corner of my eye: a tiny movement, just like before. I looked up. Nothing. She was as still as a waxen effigy or a statue carved on a tomb. Perhaps it was wishful thinking or a trick of the mind or something. I dropped the charger in my bag.
    As soon as I did, there it was again. And this time I saw it clearly: a twitch of her littlest finger, tiny, but definitely a movement. And then a twitch of all of her fingers, as if she were clutching at the sheets.
    â€œSister Eglantine,” I called.
    She didn’t answer, so I called louder, my voice hoarse with excitement. It had worked. Her P300 wave or whatever was responding to meaningful stimulus, which meant she could wake up.
    Sister Eglantine came in and I hurriedly explained. She summoned the doctor. They prodded and poked and checked the machines, but when they saw nothing, the mood turned into one of vague disappointment. Eglantine smiled apologetically. The doctor cautioned me not to feel too hopeful.
    Like all relatives, of course I did secretly feel hopeful: that she would wake. And unlike relatives, I secretly worried: that she would wake.

Quinn Perkins
    JULY 15, 2015
    Blog Entry
    This morning Émilie announced that it was a beautiful day and we were going to the beach. All fine and well, except that Noémie hadn’t spoken a word to me since she saw me with her brother yesterday. That, and I got to the car to find that Freddie was coming, too. Far from being considered a creep by everyone, he turns out to be some sort of universal family favorite, like the sex-pest equivalent of a Disney movie. Needless to say, it was the car trip from hell.
    It wasn’t just that Freddie’s thigh was pressed into mine the whole time. His actual breathing made me to want to barf. I refused to look at him, even when he asked me something nice like did I want the window open or closed. I kept trying to move further across the seat, but how could I when beach towels and sun cream and plastic-wrapped sandwiches were packed in aroundus like Styrofoam peanuts? And despite how I felt, I didn’t want to seem or even be a bitch. So the whole time I just played nervously with my phone, avoiding the Snapchat app, but at the same time wanting to ward off anything that might’ve crept up behind me while I wasn’t looking, virtually speaking.
    â€œ Merde , Quinn. You look at it every one second,” says Noémie in disgust.
    â€œI’m checking for messages,” I say lamely, ashamed to be caught out.
    â€œWhy? Nobody ever calls you. Do you have friends at home?” She wipes away pretend crybaby tears with her fists.
    â€œNoé! Leave her alone,” says Raphael, sitting shotgun next to his mom. He smiles into the little mirror on his sunshade, catching my eye.
    I smile back. At least he’s on my side.
    â€œMaman, tell him to stop picking on me,” Noémie whines.
    â€œNoé. Raffi. Quinn. All of you can stop it,” says Mme B brightly. “I need to focus, children.” She launches into a cheery round of “Joe le Taxi” and insists that we all sing along.
    A graphic image of Émilie chaperoning a zillion saggy school bus trips fills my head. I crane my neck, trying to look out the window, embarrassed to have caused more conflict. When I look past Freddie to get a view of the white-powder-dust road, the blue zipper of sea just out of reach, Freddie grins goofily and blocks my view. I stare straight ahead to where Raphael is playing air guitar to “Hotel California” and I notice some new things about him—the little silver scar on the tanned nape of his neck, how he smiles to himself sometimes and his cheeks dimple.I tell myself to pack it in. Of all people to have a crush on, my French exchange’s brother is clearly the worst.
    Madame Blavette swerves into the half-empty parking lot of a river beach we’ve been to before. She

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